Graduate Student Instructor

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University of Michigan Jan 1, 2020 - Present

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Since Jan, 2020, I have been on the teaching staff of UMSI. As a student instructor, I have had the opportunity to lead my students through discussion sections, office hours, and written communication. During my experience as a teacher, I interacted with diverse sets of students for different kinds of courses:

Courses



As a GSI for the University of Michigan, School of Information, I was on the instructional team of SI 106: Programs, Information and People which covers the fundamental elements of Python programming how to access data on the Internet. This course explores how humans and technology complement one another, including techniques used to coordinate groups of people working together on software development.

I have been aware of my passion for teaching for a few years now. When I joined the School of Information in Fall 2019, I worked with Prof Mark Newman and Prof Erin Krupka for SI 669 and SI 110 respectively as Instructional Aide. With Mark, I help to build and publish quizzes and grade the ReactNative assignments that students submit at the end of each module. With Erin, I work with the rest of the instructional team to grade quizzes and essay-type assignments on the use of Information. I was also a peer tutor and helped graduate and undergraduate students with their programming based doubts as I was successful in waiving off SI 507 Intermediate Programming. Working these jobs make me look at teaching as an attractive pursuit as I'd get to polish my written and verbal communication skills.

That's why I started applied to the Graduate Student Instructor positions eventually got the opportunity to teach SI 106. It was an interesting semester as it started as an residential course but quickly had to be moved to remote instruction. During this course, I exercised my interest in teaching programming and technology skills to beginning students; knowledge of information theory via the Runestone Interactive textbook platform and Jupyter notebooks. My prior experience as a software developer served as a background to this job.

Responsibilities

  • Leading two discussion sections, each of which meets two days per week(in-person in the first half of the semester and remotely in the second half).
  • Addressing individual student concerns, helping them get the best from the course.
  • Grading weekly programming assignments and the midterms and final.
  • Scheduling and maintaining office hours.

The 2020 pandemic

Immidiately after spring break (in the middle of the semester) the pandemic caused the in-person instruction to completely stop and switch to remote instruction. This was unprecedented and called for sudden changes in instruction. It affected differently to different students and warranted an addressal. I tried my best to do this in my capacity.

  • Switched office hours from in-person to flexible remote office hours via zoom and bluejeans
  • Made additional efforts to keep up student morale through the ambiguity

Learning through teaching

This experience has instilled in me the confidence to address groups of people, which I can translate into conducting research and collaboration. Working this job while I pursue my education has also enabled to manage both people and my time very well. I have learned to design and present course content to my students in an organized manner and constantly work on making sure that my students are fully engaged and aim at excelling at programing.

  • As I interact with students from varied backgrounds, I learn about the different individual needs, and try to explain concepts that is best accessible to them.
  • As I get feedback from students after classes, I improve my presentations, and accordingly mixed theory and problem sets depending upon learning objectives. This helped me get creative with my content every week to help create a good learning scaffolding.


Relevance in User Experience Research

This experience has sharpened my presentation and communication skills, which I can translate into conducting research and collaboration.

  • Addressing wide ranges of student groups comes to me easier because of this experience.
  • Working this job while pursuing my education has enabled me to manage both people and my time very well.
  • I have gotten a great hold on empathy when working with people and technology simultaneously which has enhanced my skills at Human-Computer Interaction and I would love to leverage this experience in a professional environment.